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Keith Witham Named Ascendium’s Vice President of Education Philanthropy

March 23, 2023 2-minute read
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Ascendium is pleased to announce Keith Witham has been selected to serve as our new vice president of education philanthropy. A national search for this highly impactful position brought forward many good and interested candidates. After a comprehensive search and review process, Keith’s extensive knowledge of the field and hands-on grantmaking experience made him the ideal person to lead our education philanthropy efforts.

Keith joined Ascendium in 2021 as deputy director of education grantmaking. He assumed the role of director of education grantmaking in 2022, supporting a team of program officers across Ascendium’s four grantmaking focus areas to maximize the impact of our investments. He will now serve as the next leader of the division, guiding Ascendium’s efforts to elevate opportunity through strategic grantmaking that advances positive change for learners from low-income backgrounds.

Prior to joining Ascendium, Keith was managing director of the College Excellence Program at the Aspen Institute. He also served on the faculty of the College of Education at Temple University and held positions with Complete College America and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. His prior experiences working for and with grant partners across the country make him a great asset to our education philanthropy team.

Keith’s educational background is also extensive, which adds to his already impressive experience as a grantmaker. He holds a Ph.D. in urban education policy from the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education; a master’s degree in social service and administration from the University of Chicago; and a bachelor’s degree in political science, also from the University of Chicago.

“Keith’s experience advancing equity in learner outcomes makes him an ideal leader at Ascendium,” said Ascendium Chairman, President & CEO Richard D. George. “In this new role, Keith will make an even bigger impact in helping Ascendium to advance systemic change so that more learners from low-income backgrounds can achieve career success through postsecondary education and workforce training.”

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue to be of service to our organization and the field in this new role,” Keith said. “I came to Ascendium because I wanted to work alongside a smart, passionate team working to address some of the most persistent barriers that keep learners from low-income backgrounds from reaping the benefits of postsecondary education and workforce training. It’s a privilege to do this work.”

To learn more about Ascendium’s education philanthropy, visit

About Ascendium

Ascendium Education Group is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to helping people reach the education and career goals that matter to them. Ascendium invests in initiatives designed to increase the number of students from low-income backgrounds who complete postsecondary degrees, certificates and workforce training programs, with an emphasis on first-generation students, incarcerated adults, rural community members, students of color and veterans. Ascendium's work identifies, validates and expands best practices to promote large-scale change at the institutional, system and state levels, with the intention of elevating opportunity for all. For more information, visit